Education 4.0: From Student-Centric to Activating Deeper Sources of Learning

In education and learning we have seen a very similar shift, the journey from:

OS 1.0: Input – Centric operations, revolving around traditional teaching and teachers, to

OS 2.0: Output – Centric, revolving around standardized curricula and teaching for testing, to

OS 3.0: Learner – Centric, which puts the experience of the student at the center of reshaping learning environments, to

OS 4.0: Connecting learners with the sources of creativity and the deepest essence of our humanity, while teaching them to co-sense emerging future possibilities and bring them to fruition.

The most innovative schools are experimenting with Education 4.0

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Healthcare 4.0: From Pathogenesis to Salutogenesis

Realizing that only 20% of health depends on the provision of healthcare services while 60% depends on social, environmental and behavioural factors, one needs to shift the focus from Pathogenesis: Treating the symptoms of illness, to Salutogenesis: Strengthening the social determinants of health and well-being in communities.

Main stream health organizations have transformed from:

OS 1.0: Traditional input-centric operations, revolving around doctors and healthcare insititutions, to

OS 2.0: Output-centric, revolving around evidence based, standards based, and science-centric ways of operating, to

OS 3.0: Patient-Centric experiences for organizing more seamless and innovative ways of providing healthcare services, to

OS 4.0: Strengthening the sources of health and well being (Salutogenesis)

This write up is based on the book – The Essentials of Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

The Matrix of Economic Transformation: 7 Acupuncture Points that address the challenges of our current Economic Thought

7 Acupuncture Points

These are 7 acupuncture points for Economic Transformation:

The three classical production factors:

  1. Nature
  2. Labour
  3. Capital

The modern production functions:

4. Technology                                                                                                            5. Management

The user side of the equation:

6. Consumption                                                                                                        7. Governance

In all the seven areas there are problem symptoms that call for reframing the deeper core issue. And for each one there are practical leverage points for transforming the curent ego-centric system into one that is eco-centric.

NATURE: From Resource to Eco-System

The central challenge of our existing economic system is that it is based on the objective of infinite growth in a world of finite resources. Instead of treating nature’s gifts as commodities that we buy,use and throw away, we must treat the natural world as a circular ecology that we need to cultivate and co-evolve with.

Leverage points for shifting the system in this directions include:

    • A circular economy with cradle – to – cradle design principles.
    • Eco-system restoration with circular agriculture that cultivates the soil.

Labour: From Doing a Job to doing Your Own Thing

By 2050, it is estimated that roughly 40% of the current jobs will be replaced by automation.

Instead of thinking of labour as a ‘job’ that we perform to earn money, we must reinvent work and treat it as a creative act that allows us to realize our highest potential.

Leverage points for shifting the future of work to a more interpersonal and cultural- creative realm include:

    • Universal basic income for all
    • Free access to Education 4.0 that activates one’s highest future potential

Money: From Extractive to Intentional

We are all aware of the unprecedented accumulation of money on a global level.

The challenge here is to redirect the flow of financial capital into the real economy and renew the societal commons.

Today we have too much money in one place – speculative, extractive money – and too little money in another – intentional money that contributes to the regeneration of our ecological, social and cultural commons.

Leverage points for redesigning the flow of money include:

    • Circular currencies, for replacing extractive money
    • Tax System Reforms, for taxing resources instead of labour

Technology: From Creativity-Reducing to Creativity-Enhancing

How can technology empower people to be makers and creators of their worlds and systems rather than being manipulated by tech companies like Facebook and Google?

Both Facebook and Google started as idealistic student enterprises with the idea of making the world a better place. And in many ways they did. But as they grew, they also abandoned their original stance against advertising in order to satisfy their investors’ desires to maximize their gain.

Other serious complaints against tech companies are also pouring in.

Leverage points for new co-creative  social technologies include:

    • Tools that allow individuals and communities to visualize the social-ecological footprint of their consumption choices at the point of purchase.
    • Technology enabled tools that let individuals and communities see themselves through the mirror of the whole.

 Management and Leadership:

We collectively create results that nobody wants (i.e. destruction of nature, society and our humanity).

The challenge here is to counteract massive leadership failure across institutions and sectors.

Instead of pandering to super-egos, we need to strengthen leaders’ capacity to co-sense and co-shape the future on the level of the whole eco-system.

Leverage points for moving in this direction include:

    • Infrastructures for co-sensing seeing the system from the edges(walking in the shoes of the most marginalized members) and from the whole. e.g. Dialogue and SPT
    • Large Scale Capacity Building Mechanisms that support ego-to-eco shifts. e.g. U Lab

CONSUMPTION:

The challenge here is to develop well being for all. Today more output, more consumption, and more GDP does not translate into more well being and happiness.

Rather than promoting consumerism and metrics like gross domestic product, we must implement sharing-economy practices and measurements of well-being such as gross national happiness (GNH) or the genuine progress indicator (GPI). Leverage points in this domain include:

    • Well-being-economy practices and new economic indicators
    • Participatory budgeting

GOVERNANCE:

The challenge here is to close the disconnect between decision making in complex systems and the lived experiences of people affected by those decisions.

Reinventing governance means complementing the three classic coordination mechanisms that we are familiar with (the visible hand of hierarchy, the invisible hand of the markets, and the multi-centric coordination among organized interest groups) with a fourth mechanism: acting form shared awareness of the whole.

Leverage points in this domain include:

    • Infrastructures that make it possible for the system to sense and see itself in order to catalyze awareness-based collective action (ABC)
    • Commons-based ownership rights that protect the rights of future generations ( in addition to private and public property rights)

Each leverage point addresses what Polanyi articulated as the commodity fiction of nature, labour and money but from a different angle.

To summarize:

By looking at the economy through the Theory U lens, we can identify ways to upgrade the operating system along all seven acupuncture points.

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Nature is not a Commodity, nor are People.

In his 1944 book ‘The Great Transformation’, political economist Karl Polanyi describes Capitalism as a commodity fiction.

Capitalism, or the market society, is constructed on the foundation of a fiction – namely that nature, labour and money are commodities;they are produced for the marketplace, for consumption.

But Nature is not a commodity. It is not produced by us for market consumption.

Neither are human being(who provide labour). Not even money.

But in the market system, all these three are treated as commodities.

The result is a phenomenal growth, but also massive externalities in the form of environmental destruction, poverty and cyclical monetary breakdowns.

 

24 Principles of Large Scale Leadership and Change Management Interventions

The method of U(Theory U by MIT Prof.Dr. Otto Scharmer) is summarized in 24 Principles.

  1. Listen to What Life Calls You to Do: The essence of the U Process is to strengthen our ability to be present and consciously co-create.
  2. Listen and Dialogue with Interesting Players on the Edges: The second domain of listening takes you out of your familiar world and to the edges and corners of the system.
  3. Clarify Intention and Core Questions: Do not rush the first step of clarifying the intention and core questions that guide the inquiry. The quality of the creative design process is a function of the quality of the problem statement that defines your starting point.
  4. Convene a Diverse Core Group around a Shared Intention: Convene a constellation of players that need one another to take action and to move forward. This is not about getting people to ‘buy-in’ but looking for people with shared intention. The quality of impact of your initiative depends on the quality of the shared intention by the Core Team.
  5. Build the Container (Holding Space for the future to Emerge): The quality of that shared intention largely depends on the quality of the container, the holding space that shapes and cultivates the web of relationships. The most important leverage point for building a high-impact container is right at the beginning, when you set the tone, when you evoke and activate the field. Container building includes outer and inner conditions, the most important of which is collective listening to the different voices and to the whole.
  6. Build a Highly Committed Core Team: To create focus and commitment, clarify: What: What you want to create; Why: Why is matters; How – the process that will get you there; Who – The roles and responsibilities of all key players involved; When and Where – the road map ahead
  7. Taking Learning Journeys to the Places of Most Potential: Learning journeys connect people to the contexts and ideas that are relevant to creating the possible future. The deep-dive journey moves one’s operating perspective from inside a familiar world – the institutional bubble – to an unfamiliar world outside that is surprising, fresh, disturbing, exciting and new.
  8. Observe, Observe, Observe: Suspend Your Voice of Judgment and Connect with Your Sense of Wonder
  9. Practice Deep Listening and Dialogue: Connect with Your Mind and Heart Wide Open
  10. Collective Sense Making: Use Social Presencing Theater and Embodied Knowing
  11. Circles: Charging the Container
  12. Letting Go: The Presence of the Circle Being
  13. Intentional Silence: Pick a Practice that helps you
  14. Follow Your Journey: Do what You Love, Love What You Do
  15. Letting Come: Presencing the Future Wanting to Emerge
  16. The Power of Intention: Crystallize Your Vision and Intent
  17. Form Core Groups: Five People Can Change the World
  18. Create a Platform or Place: Innovation happens in places. In nature, before the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, it needs the shelter of the cocoon.
  19. Build a 0.8 Prototype
  20. Iterate, Iterate, Iterate: Always Be in Dialogue with the Universe
  21. Seek it with your Hands: Integrate Head, Heart and Hand
  22. Create Enabling Infrastructures That Allow the System to Sense and See Itself
  23. Create Massive Capacity-Building Mechanisms
  24. Labs and Platforms for Cultivating the Social Soil: The objective is to create a platform that helps this emerging global movement to become aware of itself.

Innovating from the Future – Part 5: Co-Evolving: Grow Innovation Eco Systems

The movement of co-shaping focuses on scaling the new while growing and evolving innovations Eco-systems for collective impact.

The problem with today’s societal eco-systems is the broken feedback loop between the parts and the whole. The essence of consciousness-based systems thinking like Theory U, is to relink the parts and the whole buy making the system sense and see itself – by closing the feedback loop between collective impact and shared awareness.

It is why innovation labs are working; it is why their initiatives have been able to succeed. But what about the larger eco-systems in which they and all of us operate?

That is where these new innovation infrastructures for making the system sense and see itself are largely missing. The lack of these infrastructures is one of the biggest barriers to societal innovation today.

This is important because we are in the midst of seeing the birth of a fourth co-ordination mechanism. The traditional mechanisms that co-ordinate our social and economic systems i.e. hierarchies, markets and interest group negotiations are not able to provide the governance mechanism required today. Therefor the fourth co-ordination mechanism is critical: acting from shared awareness – acting from seeing the whole.

The development of that collective capacity requires cultivation, practice and enabling infrastructure. That is what Co-Evolving is all about.

Outcomes of Co-Evolving:

  1. Reviewing prototype initiatives
  2. Sharing key learnings
  3. Deciding which prototypes/ideas to advance to the pilot phase
  4. Widening the focus from prototype to evolving the eco-system as whole
  5. Infrastructures that allow the eco-system to see itself
  6. A set of bottlenecks that, if removed, allowed the new to go to scale.
  7. Newly formed generative partnerships and alliances for scaling the new
  8. A new narrative that links the work with societal or civilizational renewal

Principles:

  1. Creating Enabling Infrastructures that allow the system to sense and see itself.
  2. Create Massive Capacity-Building mechanisms
  3. Labs and Platforms for Cultivating the Social Soil

Next write up: 24 Principles of Large Scale Leadership and Change Management Interventions

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Innovating from the Future – Part 4: Co-Creating: Crystallizing and Prototyping the New (Spirit of Design Thinking and Mindfulness)

The aim of co-creating is to build landing strips for the future through prototypes that allow us to explore the future by doing. The prototypes evolve based on the feedback they generate.

The ‘observe,observe,observe’ of the co-sensing phase becomes ‘iterate,iterate,iterate’.

This method is inspired by design thinking and blended with presencing principles to make it relevant to profound shifts in social fields.

Outcomes of Co-creating:

  1. A set of refined prototypes – living microcosms of the future-that have generated meaningful feedback regarding the guiding questions and objectives of the lab.
  2. A set of connections with stakeholders and partners that are relevant for taking the prototype to pilot and scale.
  3. Enhanced leadership and innovation capacities for dealing with disruptive innovation.
  4. A team spirit that could help change the leadership culture in the company
  5. Creative confidence among the team members to take on big and complex projects.

PRINCIPLES:

  1. The Power of Intention: Crystallize your Vision and Intent
  2. Form Core Groups: Five People can change the World
  3. Create a Platform or Place for Innovation
  4. Build a 0.8 Prototype (Work in Progress Models)
  5. Iterate, Iterate, Iterate: Always be in Dialogue with the Universe
  6. Seek it with your Hands: Integrate the intelligence of the Head, Heart and Hand

7 Rs of Prototyping

  1. Is it Relevant? Does it matter to the stakeholders involved? Is it truly relevant individually, institutionally and socially?
  2. Is it Revolutionary? Is it new? Is it transformative to the system?
  3. Is it Rapid? Can you do it quickly? Can yo develop experiments right away with enough time to get feedback and adapt(and thus avoid analysis paralysis)?
  4. Is it Rough? Can you do it on a small scale? Can you do it at the lowest possible resolution that allows for meaningful experimentation? Can you do it locally. to let the local context teach you how to get it right?
  5. Is it Right? Can you see the whole in the microcosm that you are focused on? Does this idea allow you to put the spot light on the most critical variable?
  6. Is it relationally effective? Does it leverage the strengths, competencies and resources of the existing networks and communities?
  7. Is it replicable? Can you scale it? Any innovation in business or society hinges on it replicability and whether it can grow to scale.

Next write up: Co-Shaping: Grow Innovation Eco-Systems

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Innovating from the Future – Part 3: Presencing

Presencing: Connecting to the highest future potential

THEORY U - Escola de Redes

After deeply immersing yourself in the contexts of most potential, the next movement focuses on connecting to your deeper source of knowing – the sources of creativity and Self.

Presencing, the blending of sensing and presence, means to operate from the sources of one’s highest future possibility in the now.

In many ways, presencing resembles co-sensing. Both involve shifting the inner place of operating from the head to the heart. The Key difference is that sensing shifts the place of perception to the current whole, while Presencing shifts the place of perception to the emerging future whole.

Presencing uses your higher self as a vehicle for embodying the future wants to emerge.

The fundamental 2 questions that one needs to answer (allow the answer to emerge) are:

  1. Who is my SELF?
  2. What is my WORK?

Outcomes of Presencing:

Whatever form the presencing movement takes, it should result in the following outcomes:

  1. A set of prototyping initiatives
  2. Core Teams for each prototype initiative
  3. A 3D map of each prototype initiative: current reality, future state, leverage points
  4. A list of key stakeholders for each prototype
  5. An inspired energy in the team
  6. A place and support infrastructure for the path forward
  7. A list of potential additional team members that need to be onboarded (part-time)
  8. Milestones for reviewing the progress and learning for each prototype
  9. An emerging leadership narrative: the story of us, the story of self, and the story of now

Principles of Presencing:

  1. Circles: Charging the Container (the holding space)
  2. Letting Go: The Presence of the Circle Being
  3. Intentional Silence: Pick a practice that helps you connect with your Source.
  4. Follow your Journey: Do what you love, love what you do
  5. Letting Come: Presencing the Future Wanting to Emerge

Next write up: Co-Creation: Crystallizing and Prototyping the New

This write up is based on the Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Innovating from the Future – Part 2: Co-Sensing

THEORY U - Escola de Redes

Having initiated a common intention with a core group, the next step is to form a team to take a deep-dive innovation journey through the stages of co-sensing, presencing, prototyping and institutionalizing.

The Core group which often includes the executive sponsors and the team(execution team) tend to overlap. In small systems, the overlap could be 100 %. In larger systems, the over lap will be less.

The essence of co-sensing is getting out of one’s own bubble.

Our virtual bubbles(social media echo chambers), our institutional bubbles (organizational echo chambers), and our own affinity bubbles(the kind of people we like to hang out with) keep us in the world of downloading: same old, same old.

At its core, co-sensing is about immersing yourself in new contexts that matter to your situation and that are unfamiliar to you.

Outcomes of Co-Sensing:

Whatever you do in the co-sensing phase, make sure that you generate the following:

  1. A revised set of driving forces that reshape the system at issue.
  2. A revised set of core questions
  3. A set of insights into opportunities related to each of them
  4. A set of personal connections to those opportunities
  5. A core team that is ‘Switched ON’ to sensing profound opportunities
  6. A mapping of the systemic barriers that keep the system on its current track
  7. An improved capacity for building generative stakeholder relationships

PRINCIPLES:

  1. Building a Highly Committed Core Team
  2. Take Learning Journeys to the Places of Most Potential
  3. Observe, Observe, Observe: Suspend your voice of Judgment and Connect with Your Sense of Wonder.
  4. Practice Deep Listening and Dialogue: Connect with Your Mind and Heart Wide Open
  5. Collective Sense Making

Next Topic: Presencing

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Innovating from the Future – Part 1: Co-Initiating

THEORY U - Escola de Redes

Co-Initiating: Uncovering Shared Intention:

The starting point of the process is to build a container (a holding space) for a core group that is going through the process together.

This first stage lays the foundation for the later process and its impact. This first step of co-initiating focuses on uncovering common intention.

Listening is the Key.

  • Listening to your own intention or to what life calls you to do (listening to oneself)
  • Listening to your core partners in the field (listening to others)
  • Listening to what you are called to do now (listening to what emerges)

Outcomes of Co-Initiating:

Whatever you do during the movement of co-initiation, make sure that by the end of that stage you have established the following:

  1. A Shared intention of what you want to create
  2. Critical questions you need to explore
  3. A core group that guides the initiative
  4. A core team to dive into the U process
  5. Deep Listening and Conversation Practices
  6. An effective support structure
  7. Resources: People, Place, Budget
  8. An initial set of driving forces to explore
  9. An initial list of possible learning journeys.
  10. An initial roadmap for the way forward.

Principles:

  1. Listen to What Life Calls you to do.
  2. Listen and Dialogue with Interesting Players on the Edges
  3. Clarify Intention and Core Quesions
  4. Convene a diverse core group around a shared intention
  5. Build the Container (holding space)

Next writeup will be on Co-Sensing.

This write up is abed on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer.

No. 1 Leadership Challenge in the World

Possibly the number one leadership challenge in the world of business, government and civil society is the same:

It is to enable stakeholder groups that need each other to change the system to move from ME to WE – that is, from ego-system awareness to eco-system awareness.

How do you do that?

Innovating from the Future: One Process, Five Movements

Presencing is an innovatin method that enables groups and stakeholders to co-sense and co-create the future. Profound innovation requires us to suspend downloading patterns in order to activate generative social fields.

THEORY U - Escola de Redes

The 5 movements of the U Process are:

  • Co-Initiating: Uncovering shared intention – building a first container.
  • Co-Sensing: Seeing reality from the edges of the system – establishing the horizontal connection with various stakeholders.
  • Co-Presencing: Connecting to your highest future potential – establishing the vertical connection
  • Co-Creating: Prototyping to learn by doing-bringing the new into reality.
  • Co-Shaping: Embodying and institutionalizing the new – evolving the larger eco-system.

Please find separate write ups on each of these 5 movements on the same blog.

This writeup is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer.

The Eye of the Needle: Transformation Threshold

In the whole change process, there comes a process that feels like a threshold. If that threshold is not crossed, all the talk about change is hollow and disconnected.

Dr. Otto Scharmer calls that threshold – the eye of the needle, referring to the gate in ancient Jerusalem.

Jerusalem: The Eye of the Needle Gate

When people go beyond the threshold, there is an immediate impact. People start seeing themselves from a higher vantage point, and they look at the journey as a whole instead of as a series of daily situations. They recognize their habitual problems, their deeper intentions, what matters most to them, their aspirations for themselves and for their community. In short, nothing is the same.

Crossing that threshold means to be willing to let go. To let go of old patterns, assumptions and even our old ‘ego-self’. Only then it is possible to step into our dormant potential, our emerging ‘Self’.

Many of us have had this transformative experiences that have altered the path of our lives.

Re-Integration of Matter and Mind:

When revered Master Nan, the chinese Zen Master was asked by Peter Senge: “Do you think that the industrial age will create such environmental problems that we will destroy ourselves and that we must find a way to change industrial institutions?” His response was:

“There is only one issue in the World. It’s the reintegration of matter and mind.”

Essence of Systems Thinking:

The essence of systems thinking is to help people close the feedback loop between the enactment of systems on a behavioral level and its source on the level of awareness and thought.

The shift at the bottom of the U in the U Process is not a singular event. It is an awareness and presence that is always accessible to us. The journey of the U is a journey to that deeper place and encounter.

The more we can sustain this deepend connection, the more we find that our relationship to the ‘system’ to the social field is shifting.

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

21st century problems cannot be addressed with the 20th century vocabulary of problem solving

Society 1.0: Co-ordinate around Hierarchy.

The core characteristic of this stage of societal development is a strong central actor that holds the decision making power of the whole.

The positive accomplishment of a state-driven society, is its stability. The central power creates structure and order, with a calming of chaos that preceded it.

The downside is its lack of dynamism, and in most cases a lack of individual initiative and freedom.

Society 2.0: Co-ordinate around Competition:

Society 2.0 can be described as an awakening ego-system in which the self-interest of economic players acts as the animating force.

The dark side of this stage includes negative externalities such as unbounded commodification and its unintended side effects including child labour, human trafficking, environmental destruction and shocking levels of poverty and inequalities.

Society 3.0: Co-ordinate around Interest Groups:

The great accomplishment of the laissez-faire, free market economy is growth and dynamism; the downside is that is has no means of dealing with the negative externalities that it generates.

Measures to correct it include introduction of labour rights, social security, environmental protection, and federal reserve banks that protect the national currency, all of which are designed to limit the unfettered market mechanism in areas where it doesn’t work.

The limitations of 3.0 societies and their bias in favour of special interest groups, its negative approach to negative externalities and its limited capacity for intentionally creating positive externalities.

Society 4.0: Coordinate around Common Awareness of the Whole

In the emerging 4.0 stage of our economy, the natural self-interest of the players extends to a shared awareness of the whole eco-system.

Eco-system awareness requires us to open the heart and to internalize the views and concerns of other stakeholders. The results is decisions and outcomes that benefit the whole system, not just my part of it.

Field 1 to Field 4: A Journey of Inversion:

Moving down the matrix from level 1 to level 4 takes us through a process of opening and deepening.

Opening‘ means to take what is inside our microcosm and make it part of the larger macrocosm around us: As we open the mind, the heart and the will, we begin to connect with the intelligences that are surrounding us:

  • The Mind of the Collective
  • The Heart of the Collective and
  • The intention or Will of the Emerging Field.

Developing’ means to internalize what is outside, to deepen our own interiority. The combined process of turning inside-out and outside-in is what is referred here as Inversion.

To be an effective leader or change maker, we need to go through the same inversion. What does such a generative field experience look like from a first person perspective?

  • Time Slows down
  • Space widens
  • The Self-Other boundary collapses
  • The Self begins to ‘de-center’
  • Materiality Changes: The quality of matter and sensual perception also shifts.
  • Agency Changes: From rule repeating to rule-generating( operating from the source)
  • Thinking Changes: From habitual thinking to thinking from source: Presenencing.

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Organizational Evolution: Org 1.0 to Org 4.0

Global organizations are a new species on the face of our planet – a species that in less than 2 centuries has progressed to rule the world.

Organizations are essentially geometries of power.

They structure our collective decision making.

When we look at the evolution of organizations, we see 4 different stages which reflect different stages or qualities of how organizations operate.

  • Centralized
  • Decentralized
  • Networked
  • Eco-System

The leadership challenge is to develop tools that allow the organization to change and evolve into these different stages, depending on what is needed.

Organization 1.0: Centralized:

In 1.0 Organizations, decision making power is located at the top of the pyramid. It is centralized, top-down, often with formalized roles.

These 1.0 structures work well as long as the guy (or core group) at the top is really good and the organization is relatively small and agile.

However once organizations or companies begin to grow, they need to decentralize in order to move decision making closer to the markets, customers or citizens. The resulting 2.0 structures are defined by both hierarchy and competition.

Organization 2.0: Decentralized:

In a 2.0 organization structure, decentralization enables the source of power to move closer to the periphery. The result is a functionally, divisionally or geographically differentiated structure in which decisions are made closer to the markets, consumers, communities or citizens.

The good thing about 2.0 structures is the entrepreneurial independence of all of its divisions or units, its accountability and its focus on meritocracy.

The bad things is that no one is managing the interdependence, the white space between the units. Which brings us to Org 3.0

Organization 3.0: Networked:

In 3.0 organizational structures the source of power moves even farther from the center. It originates from beyond the boundaries of the organization. The result is a flattening of structures and the rise of networked relationships. Power emerges from the relationships to multiple stakeholders across boundaries.

How many people report to me matters less than the quality of my stakeholder relationships inside and outside the organizations including relationships through social media.

A good thing about 3.0 structures is empowerment and net-worked stakeholder connections.

A bad thing is the increased vulnerability in the face of disruption or being sidetracked by vested interests, because small groups can organize their lobbying activities much more easily than large groups.

Organization 4.0: ECOSYSTEM:

4.0 structures operate by connecting and cultivating the entire living eco-system that is organized around a shared purpose. “Swarm” organizations and Agile or Teal based organizations are all based on self-organizing circle structures in the context of shared purpose and institutional interdependency.

As the decision making is being pushed even further to the frontline of organizations (empowering), these flattened and fluid structures of decision making only work well to the degree that the mindset of the participants has shifted from ego-system to eco-system awareness.

This means that the decision making circles develop the capacity to act from local knowledge while being aware of the cross-organizational inter-dependency and aligned by a shared purpose.

Institutional Inversion:

The evolution of today’s organization structures show a clear pattern: institutional inversion, that is turning inside out and outside in.

In the organizational context, institutional inversion applies to many of the core functions of management, as evidenced in the rise of crowd-sourcing(inverted R & D), crowdfunding (inverted finance), swarm intelligence and other ways of harnessing collective intelligence by inverting top-down, silo structures to distributed organizing.

What is in it for your organization? Where are you and where do you need to move?

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

What is your team and organization Culture? How do you alter the Culture?

Conversation creates the world we deal with in groups, organizations and society.

  1. Conversations happen in fields – i.e. conversations in groups tend to follow certain patterns, and those patterns rarely change.
  2. There is a limited set of conversational field patterns, meaning there is a limited set of qualities that a conversation can create in a social setting.
  3. The 4 different qualities of conversation are:
  • Field 1: Downloading
  • Field 2: Debate
  • Field 3: Dialogue
  • Field 4: Collective Creativity

The art of leadership is to facilitate shifts from one state of conversation to another, depending on what is needed in a specific context.

*** Enacting Conversations from Field 1: DOWNLOADING:

“How are you?” “I am fine”.

Many formal meetings in organizations are conducted using this kind of ritualistic language.

Operating effectively in such conversations requires that participants confirm to the dominant pattern of exchanging polite phrases rather than saying what is really on their minds.

In school, we learn to say what the teacher wants to hear. Later, we use the same skill to deal with bosses and get ahead in organizations.

What’s wrong with it?

From the organizational perspective, this is completely dysfunctional behaviour. It prevents teams from talking about what is really going on.

They talk about the real stuff somewhere else, like the parking lot or on their way home.

But in the workplace and in meetings, everyone’s times is wasted and they do nothing more than exchange polite comments.

This is the recipe of breakdowns and disasters waiting to happen and the organization tends to get caught in a disruption quite unaware.

***Enacting Conversations from Field 2: DEBATE:

The defining feature of a field 2 conversation is that participants speak their minds without being responsible for their communication and its impact on others. This kind of comments raise tensions. Everyone feels uncomfortable . This kind of conversation abandons YES Sir, language for a tougher type of conversation in which individuals dare to differ.

Field 1 is all about Confirming. You must confirm to other’s views (usually the boss’s views).

Field 2 is all about taking a different stance. You suggest a different point of view.

Field 2 conversations imply opening up to viewpoints that challenge the dominant views.

The structure that results from this kind of interactions is often a debate. The word ‘debate’ literally means ‘to fight or beat down’. People use their arguments to beat their opponents i.e. anyone with a different opinion.

Debate and the expression of differing views can be useful in organizations because they put all the opinions on the table.

But if an issue requires team members to reflect on and change their habits of thought and guiding assumptions, a different type of conversation than ‘debate’ is needed. One that allows participants to realize that “I am not my point of view.”

“I can suspend my own point of view and look at somebody else’s assumptions.” – Bill Isaacs – author of Dialogue: The art of Thinking Together. This requires one to move to the 3rd field of conversation.

*** Enacting Conversations from Field 3: DIALOGUE:

Dialogue comes from the Greek logos, ‘word’ or ‘meaning’ and dia, ‘through’ and can be literally translated as ‘meaning through’.

Moving from debate (field 2) to dailogue (field 3) involves a prfound shift in the collective field structure of attention through which a conversation operates.

Just as the move from seeing to sensing on the individual level involves a shift form facing the world as an exterior set of objects to experiencing the world from the field, the shift from debate to dialogue also involves a shift from trying to beat down the contrary view to inquiring into each other’s views, empathically listening from the other.

When this shift towards a dialogic field of conversation happens, your perspective widens to seeing the world and yourself from the whole.

*** Enacting Conversations from Field 4: Collective Presence and Creativity:

Level 4 conversations give birth to new ideas, imaginings, identities and inspired energy.

When the quality of the listening and conversation moves into a generative stage, there are distinct changes in people’s experience. The shift into this deeper field of collective presence often happens in a transitional moment of stillness. That is why groups that want to access this deepest level often use intentional stillness as a gateway.It is a space of “doing nothing” – of neither over-intervening nor disengaging.

When that deeper generative field is activated, we usually experience it as time slowing down, space opening, widening, the sense of self decentering, while the self-other boundary opens up to a collective presence form which the conversation seems to flow.

People no longer say,” This is my idea.” Instead the group engages in the art of thinking together where one idea builds on the other. The impact of this type of conversation can be profound, shaping or reshaping the course of one’s life.

How would it be if your team master operating at level 4 field of conversation?

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer.

Leadership Rule: ENERGY follows ATTENTION

The way I pay attention shapes how the social reality around me unfolds.

I attend (this way), therefore it emerges(that way).

Energy follows attention.

Wherever you put your attention as a leader, as an innovator, as a change maker, or as a parent, that is where the energy of the system around you will go- including your own energy.

We need to cultivate and focus our attention.

We all live in a culture where technologies and multi tasking inhibit our capacity to sustain focused attention.

The biggest enemy of our capacity to sustain attention is of course our smartphones.

Energy follows attention means that the key to great leadership and breakthrough innovation lies in our capacity for sustained attention.

We have to focus on not only on the what- what we pay attention to, but even more son on the source: the place from which our attention originates.

There are 4 different types of listening, each of which operates from a different source.

  1. Habitual Listening: From my past experiences.
  2. Factual Listening: From my Open Mind
  3. Empathic Listening: From my Open Heart
  4. Generative Listening:From my Open Will

If the essence of leadership lies in our ability to shift the inner place from which we operate, then this means that we need to develop the collective capacity to operate from all four types of listening as required by the circumstances.

How do we develop this capacity to operate from all four types of listening?

Practicing every day.

  1. Downloading: Whenever you sit in a meeting in which everything that happens confirms what you expected, then you are downloading. Downloading is neither good or bad. It may be appropriate in one situation but not in another. It is just one type of listening. But if it is the only way you listen, then you are headed for trouble.
  2. Factual Listening: Moving from downloading to factual listening is quite doable: Just pay attention to what is most surprising, most unexpected, or most interesting. Cultivate your curiosity and pay attention to everything that deviates from your earlier expectations (i.e. to dis-confirming data). Capture these observations in a journal to ensure that you don’t lose them and the habit becomes stronger.
  3. Empathic Listening: Moving from factual to empathic listening requires you to step into the perspective of another person. Taking this step requires you to love the other person to activate the intelligence of the heart. Love begins by accepting people the way they are and the way they are not. You could also find things to appreciate about them. Get interested in them.
  4. Generative Listening: Moving from empathic to generative listening is the most challenging. It is something that you cannot force. You can create conditions for generative listening. The most important intervention at this level is : DO NOTHING. Do not intervene. Do not disengage. Just STAY WITH and hold the space for what wants to emerge.

Like a flame when applied to metal, nothing happens. But if you keep the flame ON for a while, the metal begins to change from solid to liquid. Similarly, as you continue to apply deep listening, over time the conversation will drop to a deeper level, to a different state. That is the leadership expected from all of us.

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Leadership is the capacity to shift the inner place from which we operate.

How?

The first answer is that we start by learning to see the pattern language of social reality creation that we collectively enact. The U is more than just a process. It is a non-linear field theory that works as a matrix or a field.

Social fields describe the social system that we collectively enact – in teams, in groups, organizations and social system – from the perspective of source.

There are 4 archetypes or qualities of social fields that exist on all levles of sysems – from micro to mundo.

The Blind Spot: Uncovering the Grammar of the Social Field | HuffPost

The Horizontal Axis: System Levels:

The four columns of the matrix feature the actions of individuals, groups, organizations and system.

Social fields are enacted on all these levels through four primary forms of action:

  1. Attending (Micro)
  2. Conversing (Meso)
  3. Organizing ( Macro)
  4. Co-ordinating ( Mundo)

It is through these 4 activities that we as humans collectively create the reality we live in. As Joseph Beuys – late artist said – “These actions are how we create and live the global “Social Sculpture”.

The Vertical Axis: Levels of Consciousness

The vertical axis describes different states or qualities of our social reality. The vertical axis summarizes these qualities of listening by differentiating four field state of awareness:

  1. Habitual
  2. Ego-System
  3. Empathic
  4. Generative

Each state of awareness has certain characteristic patterns or fields.

  1. Field 1: HABITUAL: When individuals, groups or organizations operate with habitual field awareness, they interpret present situations based on their experiences and habits of the past. My action comes from inside my own boundaries(I-in-me). My reaction is triggered by external events and shaped by my habits of the past.
  2. Field 2: EGO – SYSTEM: When individuals or groups start to suspend past assumptions and seek to see things ‘as they are’, they enter a subject-object awareness in which they clearly differentiate between observer and observed. They begin to notice something new.
  3. Field 3: EMPATHIC – RELATION: When actors in a system redirect their attention from object to sources and engage in an empathic awareness, they sense reality from the view point of other stakeholders. They begin to see from a new perspective.
  4. Field 4: GENERATIVE – ECOSYSTEM : When actors let go of old identities, a new space of co-creative awareness opens up. Actions from such shared awareness have often been described as flow. They co-create from a future potential that wants to emerge.

4 Structures of Attention:

Field 1: HABITUAL: My action comes from inside my own boundaries(I-in-me). My reaction is triggered by external events and shaped by my habits of the past.

Field 2: EGO-SYSTEM: My action comes from the periphery of my system(I-in-it). It arises from a subject-object awareness that analyses and responds to exterior data.

Field 3: EMPATHIC-RELATIONAL: My action comes from beyond my boundaries ( I-in-you). It arises from the place that the other person, with whom I communicate, operates from.

Field 4: GENERATIVE ECOSYSTEM: My action comes from the sphere that surrounds my open boundaries(I-in-us/I-in-now). It arises form presencing a future potential.

Every social action emerges from one of these 4 sources or structures of attention: from inside, from the periphery, from outside, or from the surrounding sphere of a system.

When we look around us, most of the time we see that individuals, groups and organizations operate from the first two states i.e. Habitual or Ego-System. But great leaders, innovators and high performing teams tend to operate from the entire spectrum of social fields, moving across all four of them as needed by the situation they face.

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer.

Presencing Vs Absencing : Creation Vs Destruction — The Leadership Challenge

There is fair amount of PRESENCING in the world; the sensing and actualizing of our highest future potential. But there is much more ABSENCING also happening on the planet right now.

In the world of Absencing the three enemies of Voice of Judgement, Voice of Cynicism and Voice of Fear show up as:

IGNORANCE

HATE

FEAR

IGNORANCE: The closing of the mind. (Stuck in One Truth).

HATE: The closing of the heart (Stuck in One Us Vs. Them)

FEAR: The closing of the will ( Stuck in One Will)

What happens to a social system that operates on these principles?

It creates an architecture of separation by building walls. It facilitates a disconnect (denying, de-sensing) form the world around us, from the world that is emerging (absencing), which results in blaming others (an inability to reflect) and destruction ( of trust, relationships, nature and self).

This cycle of absencing is depicted in the upper half of the picture above.

The cycle of Presencing shown in the lower half is based on:

CURIOSITY : The opening of the mind.

COMPASSION: The opening of the heart

CURIOSITY: The opening of the will.

Social systems that operate on these principles enact architectures of connection that tear down the walls of separation.

SOCIAL FIELDS:

The cycle of absencing and the cycle of presencing denote different social fields. The cycle of absencing represents a field of destruction and social coldness. The cycle of presencing represents a field of co-creation and social warmth.

Each field tends to be self -reinforcing. E.g.: Once you are inside a cycle of absencing, inside a social dynamic of destruction, it is very hard to escape it.

The job of the leadership team is to keep moving the system from the default pull of absencing to the world of presencing.

The future of the organization and the world depends on it.

This writeup is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer.

3 Enemies of Leadership Transformation

Why is the deeper territory of deep listening, the road less traveled. Because it required some intentional inner work to illuminate the blind spot, our interior condition.

Connecting to our source of creativity at the bottom of the U required crossing the 3 gates, or thresholds.

The 3 enemies the 3 inner voices of resistance are :

  1. Voice of Judgment
  2. Voice of Cynicism
  3. Voice of Fear

Voice of Judgment blocks the gate to the Open Mind. Every creativity technique starts with this instruction: Suspend your voice of judgment. It is the critical starting point because without it we shut down the creative power of the open mind.

Voice of Cynicism blocks the gate to the Open Heart. This is the source of all our emotional acts of distancing. What is at stake when we begin to access the open heart? We must be willing to put ourselves in a position of true openness and vulnerability towards another, which is the opposite of distancing.

Voice of Fear blocks the gate to the Open Will. It seeks to prevent us from letting to of what we have and who we are. It can show up as a fear of losing things. Or a fear of being ostracized. Or a fear of death. And yet dealing with that voice of fear is at the heart of leadership today: to hold the space for letting go of the old and for letting come, or welcoming the new.

The root of the word ‘leadership’ means ‘to die’.

Sometimes when you need to let go,it feels exactly like that: dying.

A subtle inner threshold must be crossed before something new can show up, before the ‘field of the future’ can begin to manifest.

The above write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Inner Knowing & Leadership

The 3 instruments of inner knowing are:

  1. Open Mind
  2. Open Heart
  3. Open Will

An open mind is the capacity to suspend old habits of judgment – to see with fresh eyes.

An open heart is the capacity to empathize and to look at a situations through the eyes of somebody else.

An open will is the capacity to ‘let go’ of the old and ‘let come’ the new.

LISTENING:

Listening is probably the most underrated Leadershp Skill.

At the heart of most leadership failures, leaders are often unable to connect with and make sense of the ‘VUCA’ world around them ; i.e. a world defined by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

Listening is not only important for leadership. If you are not a good listener, there is no way you can develop real mastery in any discipline.

Shifting your mode of listening is life-changing. Shifting how you listen, the way you pay attention, sounds like a really small change. But here is the thing: Changing how you listen mean that you change you experience relationships and the World. And if you change that, you change, well EVERYTHING.

To become a better listener, you first need to understand the four types of listening.

The four types of listening reflect the underlying principles of the opening of the mind, heart and will.

DOWNLOADING:

At this level, listening is limited to reconfirming what we already know. Nothing new penetrates our bubble.

FACTUAL LISTENING:

We let the data talk to us and notice dis-confirming information. Doing this requires opening the mind – i.e. the capacity to suspend our habits of judgement.

EMPATHIC LISTENING:

We see the situation through the eyes of another. Doing this requires opening the heart; using our feelings and our heart as an organ of tuning in to another person’s view.

GENERATIVE LISTENING:

We listen for the highest future possibility to show up while holding a space for something new to be born.

When you listen on level 1, ‘downloading’, your attention is not focused on what the other person says but on your own inner commentary. e.g. You may be planning what you will say next.

As you cross the threshold from downloading to factual listening (from level 1 to level 2), your attention moves from listening to your inner voice to actually listening to the person in front of you. You open up to what is being said.

When you start to cross the threshold from factual to empathic listening (from level 2 to level 3), your place of listening shifts from you to the other person -i.e. your place of listening shifts from you to the other person -i.e. from your small vehicle(the intelligence of your heart). You step into the other person’s perspective. E.g.: You may think: ” oh, I may not agree, but I can see how she sees this situation.”

Finally, when you cross the threshold from empathic to generative listening (level 3 to level 4), your listening becomes a holding space for bringing something new into reality that wants to be born. You listen with openness to what is unknown and emerging.

The success of leadership and change management depends on the ability of the leader to observe his or her quality of listening and to adjust the quality of listening to what is needed in each situation.

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer.

Attending to and Co-Shaping the future that wants to emerge

The U Process:

DOWNLOADING:

At the beginning there is a spark of becoming aware that moves us beyond downloading -m beyond extending the patterns of the past. As long as we operate form downloading, the world is frozen by our old mental habits and past experiences;nothing new enters our minds. Same Old,Same Old.

SEEING:

The moment we suspend our habitual judgement we wake up with fresh eyes. We notice what is new and see the world as a set of objects that are exterior to us, the observers.

SENSING:

The moment we redirect our attention from objects to source, our perception widens and deepens. This shift bends the beam of observation back into the observer. The boundary between the observer and observed opens up.

PRESENCING:

Entering a moment of stillness, we let go of the old and connect to the surrounding sphere of future potential. The boundary between observer and observed collapses into a space for the future to emerge.

CRYSTALLIZING:

As we let come and crystallize vision and intention, the relationship between observer and observed starts to invert. Envisioning happens from the field of the future (rather than our ego).

PROTOTYPING:

As we enact prototypes we explore the future by doing. The relationship between observer and observed continues its inversion. Enacting happens from ‘being in dialogue with universe’ (rather than from our ego).

PERFORMING:

As we embody the new by evolving our practices and infrastructures, the relationship between observer and observed completes its inversion. The embodying happens from the context of the larger eco-system (rather than from the small ‘s’ institutional self).

In summary, the first key ideas of Theory U include the 3 movements i.e. observe, retreat, act and the more granular 7 processes of attending to and co-shaping the future that wants to emerge.

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Theory U – Form follows Consciousness

Theory U focuses on how individuals, groups and organizations can sense and actualize their highest future potential.

I attend (this way), therefore it emerges(that way).

The quality of my listening co-shapes how the conversation unfolds. The quality of results in any social system is a function of the consciousness from which the people in that system operate. The idea can be expressed as form follows Consciousness.

The above 2 pictures depict the mindset shift at issue here: switching from seeing the system as something ‘out there’ to seeing the system from a perspective that includes one’s own self .

When that shift happens on an individual level, we call it mindfulness.

When the same shift happens in a group, we call is dialogue.

Dialogue is not people talking to each other. Dialogue is the capacity of the system to see itself. To see its own patterns. To see its own assumptions.

That capacity is, of course, also the essence of systems thinking: making the system see itself. Saying from the context of Theory U: Making a system sense and see itself.

When you deal with change management,then you know that the bulk of the job is moving people from a ‘silo view’ to a ‘systems view’; from ego-system awareness to an eco-system awareness.

We can reliably create the conditions that allow for that kind of shift in awareness to happen. You can’t manufacture it. You can’t mold it like a piece of metal by hammering on it from the outside. But you can create a set of inner and outer conditions that allows a group, an organization, or a system to make that move, to sense and see themselves form the emerging whole.

W. Brian Arthur of Sante Fe Institute said: The real power comes from recognizing patterns that are forming and fitting with them.

There are 2 levels of cogniton.

Most tend to be the standard cognitive kind that you can work with in your conscious mind.

But there is a deeper level – a ‘knowing’.

When one is put in a completely new situation and there is no problem to fix, then one would just wait and wait and let one’s experience build upto into something appropriate. In a sense, there is no decision making. What to do becomes obvious. You can’t rush it. Much of it depends on where you’re coming from and who you are as a person. This has lot of implications for management. What counts is where you’re coming from inside yourself.

Leaders need to deal with their blind spot and shift their attention to the inner place from which they operate.

2 Insights:

  1. There is a distinction between two types of cognition: normal (downloading of mental frames) Vs. a deep level of knowing.
  2. To activate the deeper level of knowing, one has to go through a 3 step process:
  • Observe, Observe, Observe: Connect to the places of most potential
  • Retreat and reflect: allow the inner knowing to emerge
  • Prototype: Act from what emerges in the NOW.

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Real role of Leadership: Building the Container – Holding the space for the future to emerge.

As Edgar Schein mentioned that there are really two types of people: those who understand process and those who don’t.

Understanding process means to understand the making of our social relationships.

If you want to change a stakeholder relationship from, say, dysfunctional to helpful, you cannot just order people to do it. You have to intervene further upstream in the process of social reality creation. You have to change the making of that relationship from one mode to another – for example, from reactive to co-creative.

Similarly, with respect to the the ‘source’ level of creativity. We can say that there are two types of people those who understand containers and those who don’t. Container means holding space for the learning, creativity, innovation and leadership to emerge.

Often CEO and leaders in various organizations fail to get that. They think they can create behavioural change just by making speeches and pushing some tools onto the organization. Tools are important,but they are also overrated because they are so visible. But what is usually underrated is all the stuff that is invisible to the eye-e.g.: the less visible elements of a good holding space: Intention, Attention and Subtle qualities of deep listening.

CHANGE MANAGEMENT TOOLS:

Much of the conventional language and toolkits around managing change turn out to be partially useful at best.

DRIVING CHANGE is a misnomer.

Just as a farmer cannot ‘drive’ a plant to grow faster, a leader or change maker in an organization or a community cannot force practical results. Instead attention must be focused on improving the quality of the soil.

What is the quality of the social soil?

It is the quality of relationships among the individuals, teams and institutions that give rise to collective behaviour and practical results.

The above write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

New Paradigm of Learning: Learning from the Future as It Emerges

Theory U: Leading From the Emerging Future - PDF

There are 2 different sources of learning.

  1. Learning by reflection on the past and
  2. Learning by Sensing and actualizing emerging future possibilities.

All traditional organizational learning methods operate with the same learning model: learning by reflecting on past experiences.

But we see that in real organizations, most leaders face challenges that cannot be responded to just by reflecting on the past. Sometimes past experiences are not particularly helpful. Sometimes they are the very obstacles that keep a team from looking at a situation with fresh eyes.

Learning from the past is necessary but not sufficient.

All disruptive challenges require us to go further. They require us to slow down, stop, sense the bigger driving forces of change, let go of the past and let come the future that wants to emerge.

What does it take to learn from the Emerging Future?

As human beings, we can connect to the emerging future. We can break the patterns of the past and create new patterns at scale.

We have the gift to engage with two very different qualities and streams of time.

One of them is the quality of the present moment that is basically an extension of the past. The present moment is shaped by what has been.

The second is a quality of the present moment that functions as a gateway to a field of future possibilities. The present moment is shaped by what is wanting to emerge. That quality of time, if connected to, operates from the highest future potential.

The word ‘presencing’ blends ‘sensing’ with ‘presence’. It means to sense and actualize one’s highest future potential.

Whenever we deal with disruption, it is this second stream of time that matters most. Because without that connection we tend to end up as victims rather than as co-shapers of disruption.

Theory U is an answer to the question: How can we connect to this second stream of time as individuals, organizations and as eco-systems?

This writeup is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer.

The Blind Spot of Leadership, Management and Social Change

The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener” – Bill O’Brien – CEO of Hanover Insurance.

What counts is not only what leaders to and how they do it but also their ‘interior condition’ – that is their inner source. Bill was pointing at a deeper dimensions (the source) from which our actions, communication and perceptions arise, and which allows us to sense and connect with a whole new set of future possibilities.

The quality of how we pay attention is a largely hidden dimension of our everyday social experience – whether it is in organizations, institutions or even our personal lives. As we conduct our daily business, we usually are well aware of what we do and how we do it- that is the process we use. But if we were asked where our actions cam from, most of us would be unable to provide a clear response.

Infront of the Blank Canvas

To understand this point better, consider the work of an artist. We can look at art from atleast 3 perspectives:

  1. We can focus on the thing that results from the creative process – say, a painting.
  2. We can focus on the artist’s process in creating the painting OR
  3. We can observe the artist at the moment when she is standing in front of a blank canvas.

In other words, we can look at the work of art after it has been created, during its creation, or before creation begins.

If we apply this analogy to leading change, we can look at the change maker’s work from 3 similar angles.

  • First, we can look at what leaders and change makers to.
  • Second, we can look at the how, the processes leaders use.

We have many books on the first aspect in many books and we have lot of management and leadership research on the second aspect too.

Yet, we have never systematically looked at the leader’s work from the blank canvas perspective.

The question that we have left unasked is: What sources are leaders and change makers actually operating from?

e.g.: What quality of listening, what quality of attention, do I bring to a situation – and how does that quality change the course of action, moment to moment?

Above writeup is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

3 Divides : One needs to wake up to

Can organisations help us go from ego to eco-system awareness?
  1. The Ecologoical Divide
  2. The Social Divide
  3. The Spiritual Divide

The Ecological Divide: Unprecedented environmental destruction – resulting in the loss of nature.

The Ecological divide can be summed up by a single number: 1.5. Currently our economy consumes the resources of 1.5 planets. We use 1.5 times the regeneration capacity of planet earth. And that is the global average. USA is consuming 5 planets

The Social Divide: Obscene levels of inequity and fragmentation-resulting in the loss of society-the social whole.

The social divide can be summed up by another number: 8. 8 billionaires own as much as half of mankind combined i.e. 3.8 billion people.

The Spiritual divide: Increasing levels of burnout and depression – resulting in the loss of meaning and the loss of Self.(Self = highest future potential).

The spiritual divide can be summed up by a number: 800K. More than 800K people commit suicide per year. That is more than the sum of people who are killed by war, murder and natural disasters combined. Every 40 seconds there is 1 suicide.

In essence, we are collectively creating results that (almost) no body wants. These results include the loss of nature, the loss of society, and the loss of SELF.

In the 19th Century, many countries saw the rise of the social divide and people have come aware of it. In the 20th Century, we see the rise of the ecological divide, specially in the last 30 years. In the 21st century, we are seeing the rise of the spiritual divide.

In other words, we live in a time when our planet, our societal whole, and the essence of our humanity are under attack.

So, where is the hope?

The biggest source of hope in our time is that more and more people, particularly the younger population, realize that the three divides are not three separate problems. They are essentially three different faces of one and the same root issue. What issue is that? The blind spot. The blind spot of leadership, management and social change.

The blind spot will be addressed in a separate article. Please check out…

Based on the Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Theory U Leadership: Cultivate the Social Field of the Organization or Society that you want to transform

Adapted from the book ‘The Essentials of Theory U’ by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer.

Theory U makes a distinction between the different ways that action and attention come into the world. I pay attention this way, therefore it emerges that way. Or as the late CEO of Hanover Insurance, Bill O’Brien puts it: The Success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener.

In case of a farm, the field has two dimensions; one that is visible, what’s growing above the surface; and one that is invisible, what’s beneath the surface – that is, the quality of soil.

The same distinction applies to social fields. We can see what people do, the practical outcomes that they accomplish in the visible realm. But we rarely pay attention to the deeper root condition: the source and interior condition from which we operate.

Theory U draws our attention to that blind spot – to the invisible source dimension of the social field, to the quality of relationships that we have to each other, to the system, and to ourselves.

There are 4 different ways(or sources from) that action and attention come into the world. They arise from a quality of awareness that is

  1. Habitual
  2. Ego-Systemic
  3. Empathic-relational
  4. Generative Eco-Systemic

The essence of leadership is to become aware of our blind spots (these interior conditions or sources) and then to shift the inner place from which we operate as required by the situations we face.

That means that our job as leaders and change makers is to Cultivate the Soil of the Social Field. The social field consists of the relationships among individuals,groups and systems that give rise to patterns of thinking, conversing, and organizing, which in turn produce practice results.

Social fields are like social systems-but they are seen from within, form their interior condition.

To shift form a social system perspective to a social field perspective, we have to become aware of our blind spot, the source level from which our attention and our actions originate. That source level fundamentally affects the quality of leading, learning and listening.

The problem with leadership today is that most people think of it as being made up of individuals, with one person at the top. But if we see leadership as the capacity of a system to co-sense and co-shape the future, then we realize that all leadership is distributed – it needs to include everyone.

To develop collective capacity, everyone must act as a steward for the larger eco-system.

To do that in a more reliable, distributed, and intentional way, we need:

  1. A social grammar: a language
  2. A social technology: methods and tools
  3. And a new narrative of social change

Theory U resolves around a core process of co-sensing and co-shaping emerging future possibilities. But is much more than that.

Some of the leadership capacities that are at the hear of the U method include:

  • Suspension and Wonder: Only in the suspension of judgment we can open ourselves up to wonder. Wonder is about noticing that there is a world beyond our patterns of downloading.
  • Co-Sensing: You must go to places of most potential yourself because it is in these connections that the seeds of the future come into the world. Connect with these places with your mind and heart wide open.
  • The Power of Intention: The power of ‘intention’ is key. In all presencing work, the deeper intention is the opposite of corporate indoctrination. It is about increasing, not decreasing, your range of possibilities. It is about strengthening your sources of self in a world that otherwise tends to tear us apart. It is about making you aware of your own sources of curiosity, compassion and courage.
  • Co-creating: Explore the future by doing, by building small landing strips for the future that wants to emerge.
  • Container building: Creating new holding spaces that activate the generative social field.

The problem with our current societal eco-systems is the broken feedback loop between the parts and the whole.

Theory U offers a method for relinking the parts and the whole by making it possible for the system to sense and see itself. When that happens, the collective consciousness begins to shift from ego-system awareness to eco-system awareness – from a silo view to a systems view.

ENERGY follows ATTENTION

Wherever we put our attention as leader, educator, parent etc., that is where the energy of the team will go. The moment we see the quality of attention shifting from ego to eco, from me to we, that is when the deeper conditions of the field open up, when the generative social field is being activated.

Background of Theory U – Transformation of Business, Society and Self

Inputs from the book: The Essentials of Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Scharmer

Theory U blends systems thinking, innovation, and leading – change from the view point of an evolving human consciousness.

Drawing on the MIT tradition of action research and learning by doing, Theory U has evolved over 2 decades of experimentation and refinement.

Theory U comprises 3 key elements:

  1. A framework for seeing the blindspot of leadership and systems change.
  2. A method for implementing awareness-based change:process, principles, practices.
  3. A new narrative for evolutionary societal change:updating our mental and institutional operating systems (OS) in all of society’s sectors.

Theory U integrates these methods and lineages for effecting change:

  • Actions research and organizational learning in the tradition of Peter Senge, Ed Schein, Donald Schon, Chris Argyris and Kurt Lewin.
  • Design thinking in the tradition of Tim Brown and Dave Kelly
  • Mindfulnes, cognition science, and phenomenology in the tradition of Francisco Varela, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Tanja Singer, Arthur Zajonc and David Bohm
  • Civil Society movements in he tradition of Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and millions of others who are mobilizing change in their local contexts.